(Maybe I'm wrong), in the listing of the Dead Sea scrolls fragments Megillat Ester is missing. That seems strange taking into the account that the Megillah says that memory will never fade away.

The list does include Ruth or Job or Song of Song. Also, the Megillah does not seem to be exclusively related to the Pharisees to claim that others didn't accept Purim.

The Mishna in the Megillah tractate was composed (as the rest of it) long after the destruction of the Temple. On the other hand, the Mishnah describes nicely how Succos was celebrated in the Temple, or Yom Kippur. But how Purim was celebrated in that era?

What sources describe celebrating Purim during the Second Temple era?

Also, are there external testimonies on the Jews celebrating Purim abroad, in the Assyrian or Roman empires?

  • That the Dead Sea Scrolls don't include Megillas Esther could just as easily be because there are no names of Hashem in it, so it didn't have to be put in genizah.
    – Meir
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


Josephus Flavius, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, 6:13:

Now there were slain by the Jews that were in the countrey, and in the other cities, seventy five thousand of their enemies: and these were slain on the thirteenth day of the month; and the next day they kept as festival. In like manner the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together, and feasted on the fourteenth day, and that which followed it. Whence it is, that even now all the Jews that are in the habitable earth keep these days festival; and send portions to one another. Mordecai also wrote to the Jews, that lived in the Kingdom of Artaxerxes, to observe these days, and celebrate them as festivals; and to deliver them down to their posterity: that this festival might continue for all time to come: and that it might never be buried in oblivion. For since they were about to be destroyed on these days by Haman, they would do a right thing, upon escaping the danger in them, and on them inflicting punishments on their enemies; to observe those days, and give thanks to God on them. For which cause the Jews still keep the forementioned days, and call them days of Phurim [or purim]

  • First thank you. I read the full text and it seems to copy the Meggilah exactly, and that seems not so authentic. THe wording of his work is the exact translation of the Meggilah. So I'm confused.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Mar 30, 2019 at 18:45
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    Maccabees also mentions celebrating Mordecai Day. So too Megillat Taanit. Probably it wasn't as big a deal as it has become nowadays. People like costumes and alcohol, what do you want?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 1:16

The Gemara (Megillah 3a) cites several Tannaim and Amoraim who say that the Kohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim have to interrupt their duties in the Beis Hamikdash to listen to the Megillah.

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